Fur trapping and trade with Native Americans drew the first Europeans to the upper Columbia River. Later, European settlers found the land and climate ideal for fruit farming. Orchards sprang up and flourished in the late 19th-century.
The Old Apple Warehouse began as a fruit packing plant built adjacent to the rail line in 1908 by the local cooperative. Farmers drove produce-laden wagons into one end of the building, unloaded in the basement for transfer to rail cars, and drove out the other end, a process reflected in the building’s existing architecture. Several walls still display the accounting graffiti workers used to keep track of incoming and outgoing produce.
The Grand Coulee Dam created the present Lake Roosevelt in 1939, flooding many of the existing orchards and causing a decline in fruit production and packing in the 1940s. The Old Apple Warehouse continued to process fruit, although it changed hands several times until the late 1990s. The new owners, sensing a passing of regional history and culture, repurposed the entire structure. The Old Apple Warehouse underwent a renaissance, evolving into an antique mall and workshop for artisans in the early 2000s, which continues today under the present owners.
Over time, the Old Apple Warehouse has transformed from being simply an antique mall to a cultural and historical focal point for Kettle Falls and the surrounding area. The current owners consider it their obligation to provide a communal center for the arts of Stevens County, as well as a positive business environment for their vendors. Individual artisans and vendors come from the local community, and their crafts have roots in the life and history of northeastern Washington.
Today, the Old Apple Warehouse is home to over 30 local artisans, antique dealers, craftsmen, and artists. Articles range from the funky, to specially crafted wood furniture and jewelry. Works on display reflect the history and nature of Stevens County, with artisans and vendors forming a community of practice in the art of recycling, repurposing, and upcycling.
The building’s architecture remains virtually the same since the early 20th-century. Upgrades and improvements over the years have been careful to respect the original design and materials. Visitors will find salvaged examples of fruit processing machinery, carts, and tracks among the displays. A working industrial scale for weighing fruit carts is on display near a Crandell’s Coffee kiosk.
Know Before You Go
The Old Apple Warehouse is in Kettle Falls, Washington, approximately 90 minutes north of Spokane on U.S. 395. Hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Sundays, and closed on major holidays.